“Free Seed Offer” (‘Seed issue’) ‘Archi-zones’ communications and landscapes. Eleven sheets 400mm x 253mm, stapled on left and folded in half forming 22 ‘pages’. Various types, weights, colours of paper and range of one, two and three colour printing. Packet of Night Scented Stock seeds stapled to page 11. Two loose flyers: Architectural Design and Nottingham School of Architecture. Unpriced
Editor: Peter Cook. Editorial Assistant: Geoff Taunton. Consulting: The Archigram Group: Warren Chalk, Peter Cook, Dennis Crompton, David Greene, Ron Herron, Mike Webb. US: Envirolab, Dept. of Urban Design, UCLA, LA. Cover: Tony Rickaby.
ARCHIGRAM 9, 1970
Interview with Dennis Crompton
So, now we’re in 1970, so there’s a gap between 8 and 9 of two, two and a half years. Archigram 9 was stapled together, was in a particular order, wasn’t A3! But it did, it was the gardener’s issue. The guy I just mentioned, Tony Rickaby, actually designed the cover for this with David. There was another guy who was appearing round about now, Barnard, Mike Barnard, working with David.
So, the various things on here carry over into the exhibition. This is where the dog came from, and the electronic spade and fork appear in this thing; and the garden shed, the hut, the garden gnome. I think, I don’t know quite for sure, but the garden gnome featured in our office. I think I still have him somewhere. And that was largely Diana Jowsey, who first of all was a student of mine, then as she moved up in the AA became a student of Peter’s, and then came to work with us in our office. Geoff Taunton’s again working on this, and you were asking about Chrysalis; at this time, they were called Enviro-Lab, but that’s who that is.
And this, as the editorial said, introduced the concept of Archi-Zones, and again, it was just an idea of networks, of the way that, by this time, by 1970, communication – both physical transportation and electronic communication – had become very different from what it was at the beginning of the Sixties. At the beginning of the Sixties, if you wanted to send something to New York or Los Angeles or Japan, you put it in an envelope, you put it into a red-box at the end of the street, and anything up to six weeks later or whatever, it appeared in Los Angeles or wherever. By now, you know, there were air mail flights taking stuff on a regular basis, you always had air mail but it was not something you put anything of any weight, you wrote on this sort-of tissue paper and put it in this very thin envelope.
What is this printed with, is this lithograph again?
Oh yes, it’s all offset litho -- the only exception to offset litho (well, two exceptions) is where like this cover isn’t a screen-print, it’s two colour printing. The only exception is letterpress printing in number 2. And then the silk-screen printing goes in three issues actually on those, it’s only a brown lining on some of the covers in number 5. But you can see the quality of the litho, although not fantastic, had got good enough to do a reversed-out type, which you could have done in the Triennale one, it was very much less successful in number 6.
It lost its sharpness?
It lost its sharpness, partly because of the way that it was made. I mean, by then professional lithography was something quite different. Where you’d get film made, if it was reversed or positive, the presses were capable of being very accurate, but not the High Street presses -- and certainly not the guys on the High Street who made the plates.
So this, as somebody pointed out, is a variety of samples of coloured paper used in this issue, and mostly single colour printing, but two or three sheets have got two colour printing on them. Cedric there again, Tony Dugdale. Now this was a bit of a pain because there really wasn’t continuous tone printing, not at a reasonable price, so there’s just an impression of what the original painting was like, but this mask is hand produced, as are quite a number. I think in the ephemera for number 9, for this issue, you’ve got the artwork for the cover and the colour separations. Two colour printing, but not half-tone; can’t have everything!
Have the colours faded much?
No. No, the paper, like all paper, has discoloured, yes, but the printing inks I don’t think have faded. I mean the worst is the second issue, the letterpress, was printed onto a very poor quality paper and that has yellowed. I’ve some pages that are so yellow you can hardly read the type on them.
And that’s the one the money went on?
Yes, that’s the one the money went on. Not on the paper, but it went on the typesetting.
Was David more involved in the layouts of this one?
He could well have been because by this time he’d come back from Blacksburg. There was that period from ’66 to ’68 when he was in the States, and we virtually, apart from the odd rude postcard, didn’t hear from him at all. But then he came back, in late ’68 I think it was. Or it must have been ’67 because he did the inflatable suit, unless he did that before he went. I can’t remember now, you’ll have to ask David.
Ah yes; this is your Chrysalis lot. That’s Chris Dawson, somewhere amongst these are the photographs of the inflatable dome they did, the mile-long mirrored dome for Admirer Breckeridge And we were doing the Osaka exhibition. And there’s a lot on Isozaki’s pavilion, all the robots under the Tange roof; oh, a bit of animal infestation and Tony Rickaby writing about what’s on the cover now. So, there we are.